Federal Disability Retirement: Of Monsters and Magicians

Childhood is characterized both by fraughts and fantasies; of imagined universes filled with the realities of the unknown, tempered by admonishments balanced by a world of adults who reassure, mixed with warnings and counsel of what could be. This is a complex, complicated world; to maneuver throughout it all is to first survive successfully the caricature as depicted in one’s imagination, and to match that against the objective world replete with dangers beyond mere bumps in the night.

Monsters are creations of fictive activities, and the child is told they are make-believe; yet, at the same time and almost in the same breath, warnings ensue about the world of bad people who may offer candy and toys to lure the unwary; and of magicians, what can we say? With computer-generated imagery complete with trolls and tyrannosauruses, where cuts evoke merely a wince and levitation occurs by mere whim of fancy, can the mermaid with golden braids be far behind?

To “grow up” is to leave behind both monsters and mermaids; but what we are often left untold, is that while the linguistic designations may change, the reality of the harshness of the world beyond the mountains filled with trolls and ogres, still remains filled with adversity, evil, harm and harrowing harbingers of hopeless encounters.

Medical conditions are real. Whether spoken of as monsters within, it may provide for a more simplistic paradigm of understanding, but is just as effective as viruses, virulent infections and bacteriological encounters.  Or of trolls and ogres?  Do we not know of Supervisors and Managers who put on masks of societal acceptance when others are around, but show their fangs and claws of flea-bitten gnarls when alone with you?

Federal and Postal workers who must confront a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, encounter by necessity of circumstances a world once left behind in childhood dreams; but the reality of the situation, however designated and whichever way described, often reveals a universe of unreal reality just as trolls and mermaids are; but it is still a battle which must be fought, fraught with monsters and millipedes of myriapodous anthropods crawling in the night.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through one’s own agency but ultimately with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an avenue revealed through necessity, of reaching a plateau of existence in order to rehabilitate one’s self from the world of adversity. The benefit is available for Federal and Postal workers who have the minimum time in-service requirements within the Federal Sector.  It is a benefit which must be fought for, proven, and protected, just as Sir Galahad did as the brave son of Lancelot.

Whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset, the world of medical conditions and debilitating diagnoses can only be successfully countered by securing a semblance of a present need, as well as a future hope for continuation in order to rehabilitate the devastating effects of the medical condition.  It is similar to the battle in childhood, only more real than the reality of monsters and magicians.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Evidence of Change

The charge against Bishop Berkeley has always been one of contemptuous absurdity.  For, if all that we can ever rely upon are sense impressions, then how can one maneuver through the dangers of the physical universe without bumping into tables and chairs, with calamitous consequences of mortal endangerment?  If we step from Room A into Room B, does the former disappear and lose objective existence while the latter reappears and reconstitutes itself into a viable, vibrant universe?  But that is precisely Berkeley’s point, isn’t it? One could argue that his philosophy represented the nascent murmurings of the English linguistic movement (perhaps he is turning in his grave, as he was born in Ireland), where definitional realignment of language became the methodology of solving all philosophical problems.

Thus, in pure technical terms, inasmuch as what we perceive are merely changes to our sense perceptions, as opposed a direct contact with the physical universe, his approach merely confirmed Kant’s later bifurcation of the world into an objective universe versus a subjective, humanly perceptible world. And, indeed, we tend to become lost in the universe of our own making. That is often the problem which confronts the Federal and Postal employee who finally comes to a realization that one’s Federal or Postal job has been, and remains, in jeopardy because of an ongoing medical condition which has been impacting one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

The internal ruminations spurred by worries, concerns, stresses and anxieties, often form a wall where the evidence of change and the need for alternative measures is prevented because of the blindness of our awareness. Concerns can be overwhelming; and when medical conditions impact the Federal or Postal Worker, such that the Federal and Postal Worker is beset with chronic pain, psychiatric conditions which overtake one’s capacity to possess the acuity of mind needed to maneuver through this complex world, etc., then it is too often the case that the one who is impacted by the medical condition — the Federal or Postal employee — is the one who is the last to notice the evidence of change and the need for change.

Clinging on to the habituation of daily living provides a level of comfort necessary for sanity.  But staying on when everyone else — the agency, supervisors, coworkers, etc. — has changed in their attitude and approach to embracing the Federal or Postal worker as the valued employee he or she was once considered, is a foolhardy and stubborn refusal to acknowledge the obvious.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the first step in recognizing the growing evidence of and for change. And, whether what we perceive are merely sense impressions, or the actual rumblings of the objective universe, the reality of one’s medical condition which the Federal and Postal employee must face in determining the best course of action, should always involve a focus upon one’s own best interest, and that may include consideration of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquir

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Divide between Words and Reality

The problem with the linguistic universe is that they create a parallel universe which can be completely devoid of any connection or correspondence to the reality of the world which we occupy; thus the span of genres of imaginary creations, including fiction, science fiction, fantasy; as well as the virtual world of video games (which encompasses language because of the imaginary conversations which act “as if” the events occurring in the game itself are real).

The danger of language is that it may well communicate far more than what the objective world represents; and, conversely, it can also convey far less than what one may intend.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the point of language is to describe and delineate the reality of one’s situation; the severity of one’s medical condition; the logical nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties one must engage; and the reasoning, based upon medical evidence, of why the Federal or Postal employee cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

The wide chasm between the world of language and the world of objectivity is the test of success; for, it is the one who can close that gap, and represent the reality of one’s universe by the correspondence of language, who will achieve a successful outcome.

The great divide between language and reality is a challenge which must be approached with care and trepidation; for, in the end, if language fails to correspond to reality, what would be the point of civilization in its endeavor to maintain the historicity of its existence?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Flexibility of Language

Language is inherently a flexible tool; it is meant to communicate, and while precision in communication is the defining purpose in the use of the tool, often the essence of language must nevertheless be flexible enough to embrace other, correlative concepts. To limit the tool of language often will lead to undermining the very purpose of the use of such language.  

In filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the use of language in preparing, formulating and describing the interaction between the medical conditions and how it impacts one’s job duties, must allow for some level of flexibility.  For example, if certain chronic symptomatologies result in a mis-diagnosis of a medical condition, should a later (revised) diagnosis be allowed to be argued to the Office of Personnel Management after it has been filed?  

The answer to the question is contained in how the Applicant’s Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A is formulated.  If one merely lists the diagnosed medical conditions without describing the symptoms, then the language used has restricted the flexibility of post-filing inclusion.  On the other hand, if one combines the various medical diagnoses, but also includes a descriptive discussion of the symptoms, then the answer is likely, “yes”.  The use of language should be one of precision; how one utilizes the tools of language, however, should remain flexible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Beyond the Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the medical condition in a Federal Disability Retirement case, either under FERS or CSRS, is merely the beginning point in preparing a case. As the Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C., is fond of repetitively pointing out, “The mere existence of a medical condition is not a basis for approval under Federal Disability Retirement laws.” While there may be some exceptions for certain severe medical conditions, the statement itself contains a truism which needs to be kept in mind throughout the process.  

Ultimately, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement case, one must approach the entire process (a process, by the way, which is taking longer and longer to complete, as the backlog at the Office of Personnel Management is increasingly extending the wait-time) with a view towards bridging the two critical elements in any successful filing:  (A) the medical condition and (B) its impact upon one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  It is that “connective tissue” between the two which must be the focus, and that is why the symptoms which manifest themselves from the origin (the diagnosis) is what must be discussed.  For, ultimately, while the diagnosis of a medical condition provides the basis for which a medical specialist may begin treatment on a patient, it is the symptoms/symptomatologies which provide the answer to the question in all Federal Disability Retirement applications under FERS or CSRS:  In what way does one’s medical condition prevent a Federal or Postal Employee from performing the essential elements of one’s job?  That is the critical question which must be answered, in order to have a chance at having one’s Federal Disability Retirement application approved by the Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Symptoms & Diagnoses

In filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, it is not that a formal diagnosis is unimportant; rather, it is that the diagnosis itself is merely a starting point and does not reveal the story which must be told in order to be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  

From a medical viewpoint, for treatment purposes and from the perspective of the treating doctor, identifying the source of the pain, entertaining the various treatment options, considering which treatment modalities will be most effective, etc., all play into identifying the proper source of the symptoms.  Thus, from a treatment perspective, identifying the medical condition by ascribing the proper diagnosis is of paramount importance.  A doctor often cannot begin the proper course of treatment unless and until formal identification is established. To that extent, it is also the beginning point for the treating doctor, in that once a source of pain or origin of symptoms is diagnosed, then various treatment modalities can be considered.  

For purposes of becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, it is also merely a starting point.  As the Office of Personnel Management often likes to point out, “The mere existence of a medical condition does not mean that a person is disabled from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.”  While quoting OPM as the source of legal authority is normally unwise, nevertheless one must grant that this particular statement is true within its limited context, and must be kept in mind when preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Diagnosis v. Symptoms

Is an official diagnosis important?  It certainly makes for a “clean” Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS & CSRS, and indeed, sometimes the Office of Personnel Management will question the validity of a Federal Disability Retirement application if a treating doctor equivocates on ascribing a clean, clear-cut diagnosis.  But, as they say in philosophy, and specifically in symbolic logic, while a medical diagnosis may be necessary, it is not sufficient.  That is, while a medical diagnosis is often necessary in order to easily identify the medical condition, it is not sufficient to get a Federal or Postal worker an approved Federal Disability Retirement claim.  This is because, beyond an official diagnosis of a medical condition, it is important to describe the manifestation of symptoms, and how those symptoms impact one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.  To that extent, it is analogous to the story of a primitive tribesman who feared having his picture taken, because to have one’s image captured was to circumscribe the essence of an individual.  Similarly, while a medical diagnosis identifies the “what” of a condition, it fails to show the endless “hows” of that condition — as in, how does it impact one’s job, one’s personal life, one’s sense of well-being, self-image, etc.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire